MICHIGAN CONFERENCE REPORT

Executive Director Robert C. Grosvenor (Retired)

This will be my last article for the U of M Chapter Newsletter. I retired Saturday, April 8, 2006, at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Michigan Conference. I held the post for 16 years and had to retire because of decreasing mobility for which several doctors were unable to find any cause and, even worse, any cure.

The Conference has seen a number of changes and developments over the past 12 months. When I announced my retirement to the Executive Board in November, 2005, they constituted a Search Committee to find a replacement. After sifting through numerous applications and conducting personal interviews, the Search Committee recommended Jeffrey Lee. Some of you may already know Jeff because he was working with SACUA at the University of Michigan. He started Monday, April 3, 2006 and is now in full control of the Conference operation.

Another major activity is the role of the Michigan Conference, and its affected local chapters, in the "Domestic Partner" issue. Several universities and colleges, and many units of government, state and local, have provided such benefits for years without any problem. There are more than 200 persons at the U of M who are enjoying these benefits, many of whom would not have come to work at the U of M without such benefits. The issue was challenged in court. The Michigan Conference, and its affected local chapters, with assistance from National AAUP, filed an amicus brief in the Ingham County Circuit Court where the case had originally been filed. Your chapter was one of the first and strongest supporters of the Michigan Conference in this legal action. The Circuit Judge ruled in our favor. Those challenging the benefits filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals. Again, the Michigan Conference and its affiliated local chapters, with assistance from National AAUP, filed another amicus brief with the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court held oral arguments on the appeal on April 10, 2006. Executive Director Jeff Lee attended the court hearting. As of the writing of this article no decision has been issued.

Another activity that has been very important to the Michigan Conference and AAUP is the collective bargaining battle which is going on at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. The Chapter conducted a successful membership campaign and secured enough signed cards to call for a collective bargaining election. They won the election by a substantial majority and have entered into negotiations.

The Administration is making the negotiations extremely difficult. They hired an attorney from Kalamazoo to represent them and he says he can only come to Houghton every two weeks. The administration gave a raise to all the faculty during the negotiations which necessitated the chapter filing an unfair labor practice charge against the administration. Then those faculty members who opposed the election filed a decertification petition with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and that is also pending. But the chapter members are holding fast and looking forward to their first contract soon.

The Michigan Conference held its 16th Annual Legislative Reception on February 21, 2006 at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing. It was very successful as have been past receptions. It almost seems impossible that we have been doing this for sixteen years, and have them scheduled for the next four years already. Your U of M Chapter always gives strong support to these receptions by sending large delegations to them. We hope you will keep this up in the future.

The Michigan Conference held its 52nd Annual Meeting April 8, 2006 at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing. Again, your chapter had a large delegation present. At the Annual Business meeting the delegates elected, by secret ballot Joel Russell of Oakland University to be President and Sally McCracken of Eastern Michigan University to be the Vice-President. Joel Boyd of Western Michigan University was elected to his second two-year term on the Executive Board.

The morning program was on the subject "Tenure in the 21st Century." Patrick Shaw, Associate General Secretary from AAUP opened the discussion with a presentation from the national point of view. Jeffrey Lee, the new Executive Director talked about the UM Extended Pre-Tenure Proposal. After a coffee break Provost Kim Wilson from Michigan State University and Provost Virinder Moudgil from Oakland University presented strong statements in support of tenure. The four joined as a panel to lead an extended discussion with participation from the audience. Patrick Shaw was the luncheon speaker and spoke on "Organizing the Professoriate." The afternoon session dealt with "Medical Benefits for Faculty." C. Dennis Simpson from Western Michigan University and Ariel Anderson also from Western Michigan presented an analysis of medical benefits currently in effect at several of Michigan's universities. Charles B. Smith from the U of M reported on the UM Rx Plan and Rx Options.

At the end of the Annual Meeting PFEI (Professors Fund for Educational Issues) held its Annual Meeting for the conduct of business and the election of its Board of Directors. Following this meeting the Directors held a meeting to elect officers for the coming year. This is the organization which Wilfred Kaplan from the U of M Chapter was instrumental in founding as a Sec. 501 (3) organization to which tax deductible contributions can be made. This provides grants for proposals approved by the Board of Directors.

The afternoon closed with a reception sponsored by the Executive Board to honor and thank me for the service I've provided over the years. They are providing a cash gift which I can use to travel to see my "kids" in the states of Washington, California and Virginia. The Western Michigan University Chapter presented me with one of their souvenir mugs with the Western Michigan Broncos figure on it. Oakland University provided me with an "Oakland" sweatshirt. Your U of M Chapter provided me with a golf cap emblazoned with the UM logo. All in all it was a very nice reception which enabled me to retire with many fond memories of my work with AAUP. I wish you all the best in the coming years.